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Man avoids elimination, eliminates Tug Valley, 11-7, from sectional tournament


Man's John McCoy works from the stretch in an earlier contest against Scott on April 10 at William Tootie Carter Field (File photo by Bill Lusk /WVOW Sports).


Bill Lusk | WVOW Sports

MAN It took two extra days and a fifth inning rally, but second seed and sixth ranked Man overcame a late two-run deficit to remain alive in the Class A Region 4 Section 1 tournament with an 11-7 win over Tug Valley Panthers Monday evening at William Tootie Carter Field.


Resuming their postseason elimination contest, the Hillbillies trailed, 7-5, when play was suspended in the bottom of the fifth inning on Friday due to rain, but the two-time reigning Region 4 Section 2 champions plated five runs in the fifth and added one more in the sixth to advance to Tuesday’s sectional championship at Buffalo.


The top-seeded Bison defeated Man, 5-0, last Wednesday at Buffalo. The Hillbillies must defeat the Bison Tuesday evening to force a winner-take-all game Wednesday evening at Buffalo.


Tug Valley trailed 5-1 after two innings Friday, but the Panthers plated six unanswered runs to take a 7-5 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth before heavy rains suspended action until Saturday.


Additional rain late Friday night and Saturday afternoon forced the game to be moved to Monday.


Through five innings, Tug Valley had seven runs on eight hits, however, when play resumed the Panthers were held hitless by two Hillbilly relief pitchers, Brayden Compton and John McCoy.


Pitching would dominate the story when action resumed Monday as Tug Valley relief pitcher Gage Whitt, who relieved Elijah Fluty with two outs in the first inning, threw just 59 pitches Friday, however, when the game was suspended, Whitt was forced to leave the contest having not met the National Federation of State High School Associations days rest requirement for pitchers.


Julian Vance relieved Whitt on Monday, allowing five runs on four hits, three walks and one hit batter in 2/3 innings. Vance was tagged with the loss and was relieved by Ashton Smith, who allowed one run on two hits and struck out one in 1 1/3 innings.


Vance allowed a pair of leadoff walks to Hunter Gibson and Compton to start the fifth inning. Bo Thompson flew out to second base and Jace Adkins singled to load the bases for Colton Miller.


Miller singled to left field to score Gibson and Compton, tying the contest at 7. Cam Gerace singled to load the bases for Braxton Messer, who was hit by the pitch to bring home Adkins and give Man an 8-7 lead.


Following a Kaden Dickerson fly out, McCoy singled to left field to score Miller and Gerace to cap off the five-run fifth giving Man a 10-7 lead.


Compton retired Brayden Dotson to start the sixth but issued back-to-back walks to Conner Lackey and Dakota Ooten before being relieved by McCoy.


McCoy needed just 10 pitches to strike out Fluty and Zach Hall to end the sixth.


Man plated a run in the bottom of the sixth when Thompson scored on Gerace’s sacrifice fly.


Adkins, Gerace and Thompson each had three hits for Man. Gerace was 3-for-4 with two RBIs, Adkins 3-for-5 with two doubles and three runs and Thompson 3-for-5 with a double.


Miller had one hit, drove in two and scored twice while McCoy had one hit and two RBIs, Dickerson finished with a hit and one RBI and Compton one hit and two runs. Messer drove in a run for the Hillbillies.


Gerace started on the mound for Man and allowed four runs on six hits, walked two and struck out one in 3 2/3 innings. Compton earned the win in relief after allowing three runs on two hits, two walks and one hit batter in 1 2/3 innings. McCoy struck out three in 1 2/3 innings and picked up the save.


Man got two runs in the first inning to jump out to an early 2-0 lead. Gerace had an RBI single, and Miller scored on a throwing error in the opening frame.


Fluty’s RBI single in the second got Tug Valley on the scoreboard and cut Man’s lead to 2-1, but the Hillbillies crossed the plate three times in the bottom of the second to take a 5-1 lead.


Compton and Adkins scored on an error to put Man on top 4-1 and Gerace scored on Dickerson’s RBI single for a 5-1 lead.


Tug Valley began to chip away at a four-run deficit, plating two runs in the third, one in the fourth and three more in the fifth to take a 7-5 lead.


Lackey had a run-scoring single in the third to trim the deficit to 5-2. Lackey later scored on a pick off attempt to bring the Panthers within two runs, 5-3, after three.


Ashton Smith scored on an error in the fourth to make it 5-4 and Hayden Brumfield scored on an error in the fifth to tie it at 5.


Hall’s RBI single gave Tug Valley a 6-5 lead in the fifth and Whitt’s groundout put Tug Valley ahead 7-5 before Chandler Copley flew out to left as play was stopped after five innings.

Lackey had two hits and one RBI for Tug Valley. Fluty and Hall each had one hit and one RBI, Ooten added one hit and two runs while Dotson and Vance had one hit apiece and Whitt one RBI for the Panthers.


Tug Valley ended the year with a record of 10-18 while Man improved to 18-12.


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